NY Contractor Uses Makeshift Scaffolding Devices Resulting in Fall From 6th Floor Balcony
New York, NY (WorkersCompensation.com) - The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has cited Blade Contracting Inc., based in Staten Island, with seven safety — including one willful — violations for fall hazards at a Jersey City, N.J., work site. The investigation was initiated after a worker with the masonry contractor was injured by falling from a sixth floor balcony while attempting to access a suspension scaffold. Proposed penalties total $136,290.
The willful violation reflects the use of makeshift devices on top of scaffolds to increase the level height for working and a failure to protect workers on scaffolds from fall hazards. A willful violation is one committed with intentional knowledge or voluntary disregard for the law's requirements, or with plain indifference to worker safety and health.
Two repeat violations involve unprotected workers on scaffolds and a sixth floor balcony. A repeat violation exists when an employer previously has been cited for the same or a similar violation of a standard, regulation, rule or order at any other facility in federal enforcement states within the last five years. The same violations were cited in 2007 and 2010.
Four serious violations involve a failure to install cross bracing on the entire scaffold, ensure personal fall arrest systems were attached to a secure anchorage point and not scaffold guard rails, train workers to recognize and avoid hazards including falls, and ensure proper step ladder use. A serious violation occurs when there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a hazard about which the employer knew or should have known.
"Fall hazards are a leading cause of death in the construction industry, and therefore it is critical that employers provide workers with proper fall protection," said Kris Hoffman, director of OSHA's Parsippany Area Office. "Employers are responsible for ensuring safe and healthful workplaces, and will be held legally accountable when they fail to do so."
The company has 15 business days from receipt of the citations to comply, request an informal conference with the OSHA area director, or contest the citations and proposed penalties before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
In April, Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis announced a campaign to provide employers and workers with life-saving information and educational materials about working safely from ladders, scaffolds and roofs in an effort to prevent deadly falls in the construction industry. In 2010, more than 10,000 construction workers were injured as a result of falling while working from heights, and more than 250 workers were killed. OSHA's fall prevention campaign was developed in partnership with the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health and NIOSH's National Occupational Research Agenda program. More detailed information is available in English and Spanish on fall protection standards at http://www.osha.gov/stopfalls